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CSR and HR activities should be more closely linked, says FedEx HR manager

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities should be more closely linked with learning and development (L&D) and HR strategy, Steve Wilkins, HR manager at FedEx Express, told HR magazine.

He said that he was “not sure” there was enough collaboration currently within UK organisations, and that better co-operation could greatly enhance the long-term benefits of CSR initiatives.

“Unless you really consider CSR opportunities and how you’re going to maximise the benefits for the organisation, such initiatives tend to become short-term fads,” said Wilkins. “And the best way to consider opportunities is by consulting across the business.”

Wilkins revealed that FedEx ensures collaboration through a CSR steering group, which comprises of people from various departments and consults through fortnightly calls.

“We try to take as broad a view as possible on how we engage people long term with these initiatives,” said Wilkins, adding that co-operation between CSR, L&D and HR ensures that employees are given enough support with their duties to make time to volunteer.

He said that CSR activities are invaluable both to inter-departmental communication and to employee personal development.

“I recently oversaw a volunteering event at a children’s centre, with people taking part who’d been at FedEx for less than a month. It was amazing to see how that opportunity becomes a social event. You could see how many relationships had been forged.”

Wilkins added: “I personally provide HR advice for charities through the Cranfield Trust. This means I get to experience different issues and develop different skills, which feeds back into my work at FedEx.”

CSR activity at FedEx includes direct volunteering with, and fundraising for, FedEx’s chosen charities – including Action for Children – and individual activities, such as sitting on a school’s board of governors.